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How to protect yourself from low self-esteem on social media

Four things influencers are doing to stop comparing and despairing.

A link between social media and low self-esteem has been a consistent finding in studies over the past few decades. For people who are constantly on social media, like influencers and content creators, the concern is multiplied. In the upcoming book The World of an Influencer: A behind-the-scenes look at social media influencers and content creators (which I co-author) shows dozens of interviews about the success influencers have in terms of their self-esteem, the buffers they use against it, and the positive boosts they get from social media. Whether you’re an influencer or a casual scroller, here are some ways you can stave off low self-esteem on social media.

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Source: Karsten Winegeart/Unsplash

Don’t compare your life to other people’s highlight movies

The well-known phenomenon of comparison and despair in social media is based on social comparison theory, which assumes that people define and judge themselves by making comparisons with those around them.

The problem is that even social media influencers fall into the cognitive trap of comparing their real lives to others’ curated highlight films. Because you see so much information about other people, you may subconsciously process their posted snippets as their full lives. And even people who try to show the whole picture still tend to bias positively, like e.g. B. Lots of birthday, anniversary, and holiday posts that could mistakenly make their life seem like a holiday compared to yours. Before you fall into this cognitive trap, catch yourself by paying attention to the snippets you take in.

Don’t try to be number 1

Before social media, it was easier to claim a top spot in your neighborhood, but on social media there is a seemingly endless supply of people who are prettier, smarter, or sportier. Don’t play into a numbers game you can’t win. Instead, use upward comparisons as motivation and focus on making yourself better than who you were yesterday, not the millions on social media.

Focus on unfiltered posts

For anyone, but especially those with body image issues and eating disorders, the filtered images on social media can be triggering even when you consciously know that poreless skin and flawless, chiseled bodies aren’t real. Try not only to be intentional and keep the facts about filters in your mind, but also to follow influencers and creators who are keeping it real by using fewer filters instead of filling your feed with everything that’s fake.

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Use social media to empower yourself

Using social media to uncompromisingly admit who you are while also setting appropriate boundaries with your followers can actually have self-esteem benefits. For example, many influencers point out that social media has given a voice to marginalized community members who otherwise would not have had a platform. In the book, Lauren “Lolo” Spencer (@itslololove on Instagram), an actress and disability activist, says, “For me, it’s actually helped my self-esteem because the more vulnerable I get in my content, the more I share things that aren’t social -Media-Standard are… It’s a tool for me to say I’ve already shared that, so you can’t use that against me because I already owned that part of me or that experience.”

By finding the positives that empower you on social media, you can control your experience instead of letting social media control you.


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